Rangers will free Jon McLaughlin this summer in a surprise to no one, after the forgotten goalkeeper, who is no longer part of match day squads, nears the end of his Rangers career.
The former Sunderland and Hearts stopper, 36, hasn’t played for the club since April, and hasn’t featured in a matchday squad this season for either former manager Michael Beale or current incumbent Philippe Clement.
In short, with having four goalkeepers on the books, Rangers will 100% free McLaughlin next summer, with his contract set to expire along with a bunch of others in 2024.
Robby McCrorie has succeeded him as deputy stopper, with youth goalie Kieran Wright now third choice.
Rangers may have an issue going forward with McCrorie, in that he’s too good for the bench but clearly not as good as permanent first choice Jack Butland, with the clamour for his being ‘given a chance’ dying down after the emergence of the brilliance of the former England number one.
All of which has shunted McLaughlin outside. The former Scotland cap is still training with the squad of course, but does not feature on match days and isn’t on the bench.
How do we assess McLaughlin’s Rangers career? Unnecessary, frankly. A ridiculous signing by Steven Gerrard when Benjamin Siegrist and Berke Özer were extremely keen on the move, with a diabolically average CV behind him, the guy couldn’t believe his luck to get a club this big, and end up first choice in the Champions League.
Many claim he excelled for some spells in 55, but overlook the fact that all of his shut outs were against bottom 6 teams who barely managed a shot, and the only one that was a top 6 team was of course the one he conceded two goals to. Rangers as a whole were also on fire that season up till Ryan Jack’s injury.
But really, it was the diabolical decision from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in 2022 to promote him to first choice, supported by 99% of Rangers fans, which Ibrox Noise was just about the lone dissenter to.
And time proved why as the League One-level stopper drowned badly with Rangers going through a horror spell of form.
We don’t see McLaughlin as a bad guy, of course we don’t – he was an opportunist given a great chance to play at a club far beyond his capabilities, and strangely given further chances by Gio’s successor Beale who tried to claim the ‘narrative’ around McLaughlin was unfair. Which goes to show his knowledge base for what it is.
He drowned in those chances too and just made all his backers look extremely misguided and a touch foolish.
Eventually, mercifully, Rangers signed a real goalie in Jack Butland, with Robby McCrorie very unfortunate not to get the jersey for himself. But not even Beale could turn down a chance to sign a stopper as good as Butland.
And it means Rangers are now extremely blessed between the sticks – an exceptional number one and a very, very strong deputy.
And it’s a goodbye to McLaughlin.